Last year, Lauren Santo Domingo said in various articles and on social media that “Nothing says I don’t care like a scented candle”—suggesting that shoppers looking for something more meaningful than a thoughtless present made from a chunk of wax come Christmas, check out her Moda Operandi holiday gift guide. When getting a close friend or family member an engagement or wedding present, most of us are similarly shooting for a present that’s original and personal. The last thing any gift giver wants is for the recipient to think they phoned it in. Which brings us to the question: How do you find a present that adequately celebrates such a monumental occasion? No matter what your budget, there’s an array of items out there that are sure to show the happy couple just how much you care. Here, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorites.
Books Are Back!
Many couples, during this time in their lives, are either in the process of moving into a new home or recreating one together. Your gift can help add to this process. Get them a set of bookends, like these from Design by Marble Crafters or a gilded set by Aerin, with a book (or two) that reflect either the couple’s interests or something related to their wedding. Are they getting married in Napa Valley or St. Barth’s? Maybe they’re honeymooning along the Italian coast or going on an African safari? Or perhaps they’re pizza or Disney lovers? If so, there’s a beautiful coffee-table book for that—and you can find them on almost any subject from publishers like Taschen, Assouline, Rizzoli, and Phaidon. Whether they end up being used as décor or to actually plan a fun outing, it’s a present they’ll have in their home book collection forever.
Make It Personal
Many couples create beautiful monograms or motifs that become part of the theme for their big day. A memorable way to help them use that monogram in post-wedding life is to make something with the pattern. They can be printed on linen napkins, pillow cases, sheets, and even bespoke backgammon boards. Hill House Home, Number Four Eleven, and Nine Fair are our gift giving go-tos.
Say It With Silver
There is nothing more classic or everlasting than a silver tray, whether it be a mini from Tiffany, a mid-size option from Christofle, or a larger piece by Match. Take it up a notch by having something special engraved on it—this can be anything from their surname to a meaningful song lyric to a beautiful sketch that you’ve drawn yourself. Laser engraving is much less costly than other forms of inscription and can be done quickly by many of the major brands.
Memorialize The Memory
Save the wedding invitation and take it to a stationer (like Bernard Maisner) who can take the paper product and turn it into a keepsake (like the lacquered box below). This is a wonderful way for the couple to have their most sacred piece of mail always on display.
A House Isn’t A Home Until Their Are Plenty of Objet
For the artful or even trendy couple, you can never go wrong with a beautiful ashtray. The designs are intricate, unique, and often handcrafted. They are a “forever” gift and you can find an assortment of stunning designs and colors from brands like Hermès, Laboratoria Paravicini, and L’Objet. Helpful tip: Try to pick something that has meaning to the couple or your relationship to them (a wedding motif, favorite animal, or favorite color), or, if possible, find one that’s made where the couple is having their wedding. Otherwise, a design that speaks to the notion of love—like these two love birds (pictured below)—will do just fine.
I know, I know, as lame as it may feel to buy your best friend something directly off his or her registry, these are the items the couple has said that they really want. Not to mention, gifts that are off-registry can sometimes be difficult to return or exchange. A thoughtful and sure-to-please present that can usually be plucked right off the list is a set of dessert plates—it’s the sweetest way to say congratulations.